A Little Gull (Larus minutus) decided to make an appearance in the Cayuga Lake Basin today, at the extremely convenient spot of Stewart Park, on the south shore of the lake right in Ithaca. I was just walking through the Lab of Ornithology parking lot, looking at my first Rusty Blackbirds of the year, when I hear shouting. I quickly find myself running to the car with Tom and Dan, and we zoom off to Stewart to see the gull cavorting with Bonaparte's right at shore. Literally, it swooped just 20 feet away at times. A small crowd of birders descended on the park, and a flock of telephotos took some pretty good shots. The first photos online go to Tom Johnson (in his Cayuga Lake Basin birding gallery here), and a whole gallery by Ryan Douglas (here). I may add more if more people post. Unfortunately neither Tom nor Ryan got a shot with reference to the shore, and the people standing right nearby. This bird was a second-year bird, with a great pink cast to it.
This bird isn't an overwhelming rarity in the Basin (it has already been seen once or twice this year), but it is worthy of a chase, as it doesn't show up here every year. I was rewarded with the best looks I have ever had, and probably ever will get. I'd have to agree with Tom in his exuberance in calling this bird the Bird of the Year (as of yet!).